Today's Update: Monday, August 24

August 24, 2020

Dear Student Life Team, Before I start Today’s Update, I wanted to let you know that we will hold another all-staff team gathering on this Friday, August 28, at 3-3:30 p.m. I will include the Zoom link later in the week. Looking forward to “seeing” you!” 

It’s clear that we need everyone, faculty, staff and students, to work Together as Buckeyes if we are going to have a successful semester. It’s also no secret that large parties or gatherings on or off-campus, especially in the off-campus area, pose a threat to that success. 

We are doing all we can to encourage students to take the pledge they signed seriously and refrain from unhealthy behaviors. We’re also working closely with landlords and University District business owners to help in this effort.  

I sent another message to all students on Friday, outlining the reasons to follow the simple requirements (face mask, physical distancing) and the consequences for failing to comply. You can read the email below.  

Again this past weekend we had teams out in the off-campus area, encouraging students to wear face masks and practice physical distancing. Perhaps you saw on the Student Life social media channels that student Community Ambassadors through our Off-Campus and Commuter Student Services department were out putting up yard signs. They say things like, “Because you can’t O-H without the I-O," “Because parties of ten are cheaper” and “Because one party could be our last call.” It’s a fun way to encourage safe and healthy behaviors.  

If they ignore the messages, there are accountability measures, and students will be referred to Student Conduct and could face an interim suspension. We have dozens of cases already. Student organizations involved in unsafe gatherings could lose their university recognition and funding.  

This is a critical time. With classes starting tomorrow, we need our entire community focused on protecting the health of everyone. That way, we can have a Scarlet and Great semester.   

 

Here is the message I sent to all Ohio State students Friday afternoon:  

Dear Students: Earlier this week I wrote to share my great hope and belief that we can all come together for a successful and uninterrupted semester. In that same message, I provided information about the consequences if we do not. 
   

Let me remind you: organizations and individuals will be held accountable for their unsafe behaviors. Our Student Conduct team is in the process of opening dozens of conduct cases which likely will result in interim suspensions for individuals and student organizations who have chosen to hold parties that are not consistent with safe and healthy guidelines. 
 
I share this information because I hope it will demonstrate the seriousness that The Ohio State University is placing on these things: 

  1. Wear a mask. 

  1. Stay six feet away from others. 

  1. Do not hold events or gatherings of more than ten people – on or off campus.

 

Perhaps knowing about the action we are taking will influence your decisions and prompt you to encourage others to take this situation seriously. And remember that this is all about more than the individual. We have one shot at this – responding to what so many of you asked for: an on campus semester at Ohio State. For many, this could be their last semester as a student. For first year students, their first college experience at Ohio State. For some, this is where they find housing safety and food security. Don’t make intentional choices now that inherently challenge the future for so many members of our Buckeye family. 

 
I recognize what we’re asking you to do is difficult. I understand the importance of students finding a sense of belonging and connecting with others to aid in building community. And in ‘normal’ times, the ways we’ve facilitated this interaction worked incredibly well. You love Ohio State because of the memories you’ve created, the community you’ve built or the ones you imagined you would have this year. I’m truly sorry that looks and feels different now. But just as we always do, we have to pull together to allow those experiences to take a different shape for the benefit of so many. Your faculty, the mentor you’ve established a strong partnership with and the committed people who meet and greet you in your residence halls, dining marketplaces or research labs. We’re all depending on each other. 

 
It is not simply a slogan to say we are in this Together As Buckeyes. It is a reality. And a critically important one. I know we can do this. We have to do this. But we can only do it together.

Melissa